Maya and I were taking a morning walk around the neighborhood when she saw something she wanted on the sidewalk. It was a chewed up plastic hair barrette, and I didn’t think it was safe for her to have. I grabbed one piece from her, but she closed her tiny hand on to the other half so I couldn’t get to it. “NONONONONONONONONONONONO,” she screamed at me and my parenting attempt.
The dreaded day had come, my toddler learned how to say no.
I wondered to myself how I ended up in this spot. I’ve read all of the articles that explained instead of saying no, you should say something else or use redirection. Let me tell you that it’s easier said than done. I was warned about the “no”s, and they happened anyway.
Though I try to limit my use of the word “no”, her father, grandma, brother, sister and cousins likely don’t. If you add it all together, toddlers hear “no” somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 times per day. Like it or not, we’ve created these little no-monsters!
To be fair, we should try to look at it from the toddler perspective. They’re just trying to make sense of this big old world around them. Whenever they find something fun (or potentially dangerous) to play with, an adult is usually nearby to put the kibosh on it. It’s our job, after all—even if we look like the bad guy.
Before you rush to eradicate “no” from your vocabulary, research says that when your toddler tells you “no”, it’s perfectly healthy and actually a positive thing. They’re learning about themselves by pushing boundaries. The “no” stage is no cakewalk, but there are tips and strategies to keep you sane.
And, like all other parenting challenges, this too will pass.
Mamas, how do you cope while parenting a defiant toddler. Please share your experiences!